Alumni Game raises funds for b-ball program

PINEDALE – Some familiar – and older – faces returned to the hardwood in Wrangler Gym last Tuesday evening in Pinedale, as the first-ever Alumni Game matched up old school against new school to help raise funds for the high school boys basketball program.

According to head boys basketball coach Eric Oram, the event was a big success in its first year.

“It went very well,” he said. “Great crowd, great game and great support for our program.”

The game pinned current athletes from the 2016-17 Pinedale High School Wranglers against a team full of All-Star alumni from previous years. Members of the alumni team featured Jake Brunette, Wyatt Choate, Jordan Costello, Keaton Cross, Mike Davis, Ian Douglas, Kevin Kunard, Sam Nelson, Abe Pearce, Conor Raney, Dylan Reese, Joe Steege and Mike Vickrey.

The game was a closely contested battle throughout, with the new-school Wranglers winning 51-49.

“It was a very competitive game,” Oram said. “Intensity was high; effort was all game. The crowd was really into the game.”

The head coach said the event was beneficial for the Wrangler basketball program, the high school and community to take part in. This was the first of many more to come in the future.

“If you missed the game this year, mark your calendar for next spring,” he said. “We could not have been more thankful to our community for the support at our first-ever Alumni Game.”

The event took a lot of helping hands to make it a reality, Oram said, thanking everyone who worked hard to make the game a success.

“We had school staff volunteer their time to help run clock, scorebook and officiate,” he noted. “We had so many parents help with the bake sale, silent auction, set up and clean up.”

Oram personally thanks Pam McCulloch, Laila Illoway, Joni Pennock and Robin Schamber for their assistance, along with game referee Travis Samulski. Jim and Andy Nelson announced the game in comedic fashion.

Through admission sales, a bake sale and a silent auction, the event raised just over $2,000, which will help the basketball program in a number of ways. Oram says it will assist with summer tournament costs, travel and hotels. Keeping skills sharp in the summer and growing one’s basketball game is critically important, the coach added.

“Living in Pinedale, we have to travel to play other teams and find tough competition,” he said. “The money will also go to program needs with equipment, uniforms and meal cost during the season.”

The coach looks forward to keeping the Alumni Game in an annual rotation to bring the community together for a fun evening of basketball hoops and fundraising.

“The event was great; a big thank you to the alumni that played,” he said. “It was great to have you back in a Wrangler uniform and playing the best game there is.”


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